Original Japanese work by 汐薙 (Shio Nagi)
Original cover art by ハチ (Hachi)
Originally sold at Lyrical Magical 6 on March 20, 2009.
English translation by NanoFate staff.
Translators: Anon2111, Maleficarum.
Proofreaders: Divine Vengeance.
Released at nanofate.us in November 2012.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha is licensed in the U.S. by
Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. and FUNimation
This translation is being released without permission
of copyright holders or the author.
Fate X Nanoha
Ich kann Sie treffen, und ich bin froh.
Es ist alles von mir, mit Ihnen zu lachen.
Ich liebe nur Sie
Sie sind alles von mir.
Story & Characters
It was a tale of a princess and a knight who fell in love.
A story of two foolish girls who sought an impossible future.
That inconceivable love, was now reality.
Soon after the war, Nanoha and Fate left the castle. Until they could make a new home for themselves, they borrowed a room in the retreat of their good friend Hayate, and began a new life together.
Whenever one turned her head, a smiling face would be there. When one reached out a hand, it was grasped in return. Beset by nothing, the two could exist in a world where they were together.
Back then. Even as they had wept at the gap between reality and hope, they had desperately reached out their hands, seeking this “common, everyday life,” which was now...
Enough to make them weep with happiness.
Thank you, for being born.
－ Nanoha Takamachi－
*The second daughter and youngest child of the fifteenth king of Eldorado.
*Family consists of her father, mother, older brother, and older sister. She is the only one within her family that possesses magical abilities. Rank S+.
*Despite having little chance at inheriting the throne, because she was the key that could activate the national treasure Erbsünde, she was more heavily guarded than her brother and sister.
*From birth she possessed the innate Device “Blauer Vogel,” which was located in her left shoulder, but it was lost following an accidental fall when she was ten. Without a Device, she was unable to use magic and lived as an otherwise normal human. To enter the battlefield and save Fate, with Hayate's help, she obtained a new Device, “Raising Heart.” Mid-range bombardment type.
*Soon after the war she left the castle, and she and Fate are currently freeloading at Hayate's place.
－ Fate T. Harlaown－
*Captain of one of Eldorado's orders of knights, “Nachtmusik.” Because of her high combat ability, she was also attached to the princess's guard. Now relieved from guard duty and continuing her duties as captain.
*Formerly a war orphan, she was found near the kingdom's border and taken under protection by a knight. She lived in an orphanage managed by Linith until she was ten, then joined the military on the basis of her strong magical potential. At this time she was adopted by Lindy Harlaown and took on the Harlaown surname.
*Presently Rank S+. Her Device is “Bardiche Assault.” Magical control: Lightning. Her speed and mobility are the best in the squad, making her primarily a short-range combat type.
*Being the daughter of Precia Testarossa of Himmel, in order to try to stop the war, she became a traitor and set out for the neighboring kingdom alone.
－ Hayate Yagami－
* Former captain of one of Eldorado's orders of knights, “konzert,” and presently commander.
*As a child, the village she lived in was destroyed during a war. She was taken in by Nanoha, who happened to be passing by. Afterwards she enlisted in the order of knights. Because Nanoha liked her so much, she was able to become the princess's steward more quickly than anyone in the kingdom's history.
*Unique among the units, she possesses a private squad of guardian knights (Made up of the leader Signum, along with Shamal, Vita, and Zafira).
*Presently Rank SS. Her Device is “Schwertkreuz,” along with the Control Device “Reinforce II,” and she possesses the rare skill “Gather and Release.” Logistical support type with a specialty in wide-area offensive magic.
*Since her assigned squad room is limited, she mainly spends her days off at a house near the castle with her four guardian knights.
*After the war, she lent a room in her home to Nanoha and Fate, who had left the castle.
When I apologized, Fate-chan shook her head several times.
I should be saying that. As she apologized with eyes cast downward, her expression was tinged with acute frustration, but also a desperation which covered it.
I scared you, didn't I? I'm sorry.
Fate-chan gave me a chaste, gentle kiss.
When we finished the usual preparations before slipping into bed, our bodies, out of awkwardness, were a little farther apart than usual.
The white of the sheets that I could see through the gap between us hurt to look at. To escape from it, I looked up at the ceiling which was painted in darkness.
From the slow breathing I could hear next to me, I could tell Fate-chan was still awake.
I'm sure Fate-chan also noticed I wasn't asleep yet. But, I couldn't say anything.
My throat hurt, like it would give out at any moment.
The room, whose air seemed to have dried out, was ruled by a piercing silence. All that could be heard, was the tick-tock of the clock's second hand methodically marking the passage of time.
It was true that, until just recently, I had lived in a castle.
So, if I were asked if I was sheltered, I might not be able to deny it.
Even so, it wasn't as if I didn't know anything about “it.”
With many people coming and going in the castle, a modest but assorted supply of gossip floated about.
Also, I had heard just a bit in a conversation with Hayate-chan and the knights I was close with.
While it hadn't been about me, it was embarrassing, and in the middle of it I excused myself.
Hayate-chan teased me quite a bit for that.
... Yeah, I won't worry about that now, I had thought.
Or maybe, I knew it as “those things” done between people going out.
So I was really happy that Fate-chan wanted to.
The kiss, different than usual, made my heart race unbearably. As Fate-chan touched me, her hands were gentle, and warm. I was so happy.
— But then.
I suddenly felt a great anxiety, and all of a sudden, I had burst into tears.
I tried to stop my tears, but they wouldn't stop.
Though it wasn't as if Fate-chan did something I didn't like. Though she didn't do anything wrong at all. I hurt her.
I was sorry for that. Again, tears welled up.
Trying to hold back my sobbing, I buried my face in my pillow, when I suddenly felt a warmth at my back.
Softly. Like they were taking in something fragile, arms wrapped gently around me.
“Nanoha. ... Don't cry, okay?”
She stroked my head as if comforting a smile child.
“Why don't we just go to sleep for tonight?” The voice that said this, was utterly gentle.
The beats of her warm body, melted away the silence that had persisted until now.
Her voice was just like the arms around me. It seemed to enwrap my body. From beside my ear, it resounded sweetly.
“It was sudden, so you were scared, right? Forgive me?”
The arms that embraced me tightened a little.
Wanting to refute those words I shook my head several times, and from behind me I heard Fate-chan sigh as if relieved.
“Um... for tonight, can we just... stay like this?”
I slipped out of her arms, then turned to embrace her. The crimson before my eyes widened in surprise.
“... Of course. If you're okay with it, then gladly.”
Saying this, Fate-chan smiled contentedly.
【Ich danke allen Leuten】
The sun, not yet overhead, shined in the cloudless, deep blue sky.
As my body caught the warm sunlight that filtered through the trees like long bands hung from the heavens, I placed the basket I carried onto the ground and stretched my arms out.
I took a deep breath, and along with the scent of new greenery, I felt the brisk, early morning air tickle my nose and spread through my chest.
Yep, the weather is nice today too.
I picked up a freshly washed item of clothing from the basket, and spread the wrinkles out. Struck by the wind and sun, it was a little dazzling to look at.
Pleased with how they had been washed clean, I took a clothespin in one hand, and one by one began to deftly set them to dry.
As I did this simple but very important task, I realized that I had started humming to myself. I shrugged slightly.
Since we moved to Hayate-chan's refuge on the outskirts of town, half a year had already passed.
The days we spent hectically adapting to the new environment had little by little regained their calmness, and by now had started to feel completely routine.
I had lots to learn, and it was difficult for us at first. But my daily life was fun, learning different things from Hayate-chan and the others.
Each day would come to an end so quickly it seemed as if it hadn't been true. This would make me feel a little sad. But, the next day would be so much fun I'd forget right away.
It was because, I was with Fate-chan.
There was surely no greater happiness than this.
So much so that I could declare that every day was fulfilling.
This was the “normal, everyday life” that I had imagined, that I never stop wanting when I lived in the castle.
But, even now— there was just one problem.
— Which was,
Holding the now-empty basket, I put my cheek to one of the sheets that had just finished drying.
I narrowed my eyes at the comfortably cool feeling, and breathed my umpteenth sigh of the day.
I was recalling what had happened the other night.
Since then, Fate-chan seemed to be taking as much care as possible to avoid that kind of atmosphere.
I may have been wrong, but to me, who had watched her for so many years, there was undeniable evidence.
The greeting kiss she always gave me had become somehow awkward. Even when I tried to kiss her deeply, it had lasted just an instant. She pulled her lips away immediately.
“... I wonder why...”
I didn't dislike it at all. ... Rather, I wanted to at least touch her. Even now, I feel this way.
I wondered why I had suddenly felt scared.
“... I can't just keep brooding over this.”
I pulled my face back from the sheet, and shook away my dismal thoughts.
Afterwards, I headed back to our borrowed room, intending to do some cleaning.
As I was heading up the stairs to the second floor, Vita-chan called out to me suddenly.
She was apparently off duty today, dressed not in military uniform, but her usual civilian clothes.
Maybe because she had just finished a night shift, her expression was a bit worn-out.
“This. Did that Fate of yours forget it or something?”
In her hands, was a familiar lunch bundle, and a small, portable canteen.
It had been packed just this morning, but it seemed that its owner had carelessly left it behind.
“... Fate-chan was in a hurry this morning, so...”
Today's work site was farther away than usual, and Fate-chan, who had woken up at her normal time, had only drank a little coffee before hurriedly leaving the house without breakfast.
Looking at the clock, it was almost noon.
Nearly time for her lunch break.
... She didn't eat this morning, so I'm sure she'll be hungry.
“Fate's unit is doing reconstruction work in the southern district today, right? That's a ways from here, want me to deliver it?”
“There's shopping I need to do on the way there anyway.” Vita-chan added, a bit brusquely.
At such Vita-chan-esque consideration, my face relaxed into an easy smile.
“Mm, thank you. But, do you mind if I deliver it?”
“I want to see how the town is looking.” When I said this, Vita-chan nodded as if she had guessed something.
“It's really getting back to how it used to be. You'll be surprised.”
“I can't wait to see it,” I nodded back to Vita-chan, who was smiling.
“I'll handle the shopping too. So you can take it easy, okay Vita-chan? Since you finally have some time off.”
“Mm? Really? Thanks. Then, I'll leave this to you.”
Perhaps because of the fatigue that came with working everyday, Vita-chan acceded unusually easily. From her pocket she took out a wallet and a sheet of memo paper with the names of several items written on it, and handed them to me.
I returned to my room to put on a stole, and then taking a small, cloth bag with me, I returned down the staircase.
Into the bag, I put the memo and wallet given to me, along with the lunch box and canteen to deliver to Fate-chan.
As I placed my hand on the doorknob to leave the house, my eyes stopped on the hat hung by the entranceway.
I picked it up, and thought on it a little.
... I didn't really like things like hats, but....
“When you go out, make sure you're covered, okay?”
I suddenly recalled Fate-chan's face as she said this worriedly.
It was her I was going to see, so if I didn't keep myself shaded I'm sure she'd tell me again.
Easily imagining something like that, I let a small smile slip out.
And so I gripped the hat, and obediently put it on low over my eyes.
“Now then, I'll be going, okay?”
“Gotcha, take care-”
I traveled down the gently sloping path, and after a little while I came out onto the paved road.
With the walking easier, I quickened my pace a little.
A small clattering sound came from within the bag I carried, and I hastily stopped and caught hold of it. Worried that the lunch box had tipped, I opened the bag.
As if it were saying, “Don't worry about me,” the pale-colored lunch bag peeked out.
Relieved, I continued towards the place where Fate-chan was.
Because, after all, I wanted it to be nice for her when she ate it.
If she received a messed-up lunch box after working hard all day, I'm sure she'd be sad...
No. Since it's Fate-chan, she'd forgive it with a smile. But, I'd rather that not happen.
I wanted to see her soon, so I continued forward at a quick pace. Before long, the city center finally began to come into view.
In the buildings and streets reflected in my eyes, scars of the war still remained in the form of rubble and twisted streetlights, but as I advanced forward they became more and more like the pretty ones I remembered.
I could also see children running energetically through the alleyways.
The sight brought a smile to my face, and as my gaze followed them it came to a shop.
My feet stopped themselves in front of it.
Fruits and vegetables, in a variety of pretty colors.
Basking in the sunlight, they were vivid, even gem-like. Very fresh and tasty looking.
That reminds me, I thought, taking out the memo.
Confirming that the fruits in front of me were what had been written down, I put them in a basket.
Once I was done, I asked the shopkeeper for the total.
As I gazed at the fruit being put into the bag, I thought, I know, why don't I bring some as a refreshment for everyone in Fate-chan's unit?
The thought occurred to me, and I acted right away. I reached for some fruit that I could see from the register, and called out to the shopkeeper.
“Excuse me. I'll take these as well, please.”
I put a variety of fruits into the basket along with what Vita-chan had requested, and asked for the new total.
“Certainly, but... can you carry that much, miss?”
“Yes, no problem!”
I smiled back at the worried man, and walked out with the paper bag they were put in held to my chest. As I adjusted my hold to keep my balance, one of the apples fell from the bag.
Red fell as if being sucked towards the brick-lined road.
I scrambled to reach out a hand to stop its fall.
As I did, another hand reached out an instant faster than mine. The apple was stopped just before it hit the ground.
At the same time, another was taken from the bag I held to my chest.
“Look, isn't it dangerous to walk around carrying so many?”
I lifted my head to the familiar voice, and there was the usual smile.
“Ahaha. Long time no see, Nanoha-chan.”
Hayate-chan quickly started to walk away from me while I stood in surprise.
As I ran to catch up, from ahead I could hear crisp sounds of chewing.
“Mm~! It's great to see that quality goods have even come back to the shops, huh?”
Hayate-chan's eyes were narrowed in happiness. As I looked at her profile, “Yeah.” I nodded back.
Then, we slowly left the downtown.
Around the time Hayate-chan had finished eating the apple, we reached the southern district, which I had been told Fate-chan's unit was working on.
“This is it. The cathedral is here, you know? So we're assigned here along with a few other units. With so many excellent people, the boss gets bored, so I had just gone out to buy some drinks.”
“Nice timing, if I do say so myself.” She smiled. “I'll call Fate-chan over. Wait here a sec, okay?”
“Yes, thanks. Hayate-chan.”
“No problem.” Hayate-chan entered the building, which was in the midst of reconstruction.
To keep out of the way of the people working, I stepped off to the side, and from there looked about the area a little.
Knights were hurrying about. Beyond them, was the ruined cathedral.
Subtlety-carved reliefs had tumbled down, and the entire building was now at a slant.
The stained glass windows that had been so pretty were also broken, and their fragments whose colors blended irregularly had been gathered in a pile nearby.
It was so gorgeous before....
Recalling the magnificent appearance of its pre-war glory, I felt a tiny pain in my chest.
I heard a voice suddenly call out to me, and pulled my gaze from the building. There, stood a knight wiping away her sweat with her cuff.
If I was remembering correctly, it was the vice-captain of Fate-chan's squad.
“Good day. Pardon my intrusion.”
I smiled back, and her expression which had stiffened somewhat with tension relaxed, and she grinned back at me.
“How unusual, for Nanoha-sama to come all the way out here.”
“Yes. Captain Fate forgot her lunch, so I came to bring it to her.”
At my words, the vice-captain's eyes widened.
“Really? Isn't that unusual for the captain to do?”
As we chatted like that for a little while, others noticed and gradually began to gather.
I was a little surprised by the sudden fuss, but I was happy to be able to see everyone's smiles like this.
“... Ah, that's right! It isn't much, but would everyone like some?”
The lively conversation made me remember suddenly, and I offered them the bag of fruit I had bought.
When I did, the girl I was talking to looked into the bag and smiled, truly happily.
“Waa~, looks good! Thank you very much! Ah, if you have time and it isn't a bother, would you like to eat with us too, Nanoha-sama? Our squad is about to have lunch.”
“Really? Umm... Then...”
Right as I was about to nod, “Since I came all this way.”
I looked over my shoulder, and there was Fate-chan.
Maybe because she was taking off her work jacket, her slender arms that smoothly appeared from inside seemed to emphasize the whiteness of her skin.
Gold threads that were tied up higher than usual, probably to keep them out of the way, swayed widely as the wind caressed them.
Before I could finish calling her name, my hand was grasped tightly.
With her free hand Fate-chan picked up the lunch box and canteen that I had set down, then began walking steadily, looking straight ahead.
... Is she mad?
Unsure, I followed behind her, until we reached the back of the cathedral.
With no one around, it was completely silent, making it hard to imagine the bustle from just a little while ago.
I looked about.
The ground here had been cleaned up, free of rubble and shards of glass, and a large sheet had been laid out on it.
“Here.” As she handed me a wet towel, I observed her slightly sullen expression, rare for her.
She wiped her hands off, and as I followed her example and began to clean mine, I heard the sound of a lid being opened.
“... My lunch box. Thank you for bringing it, Nanoha.”
“Fate-chan... are you... mad?”
When I asked nervously, Fate-chan's eyes widened.
“That's not it.” She shook her head.
“... It was just, when I came to meet you, everyone was surrounding you...”
Saying this, she smiled apologetically.
“It wasn't fair of me. But since this is a rare chance, I wanted just the two of us to eat together.”
She took a sandwich from the lunch box, and handed it to me.
“Is that... wrong?”
“No, I'm glad.”
And like that, my slightly late lunch with Fate-chan began.
“Yeah. It's as good as I thought it would be.”
“Nyahaha. I'm glad to hear that.”
Fate-chan's words and her truly happy smile embarrassed me a little. I hung my head to hide my face which was probably flushing scarlet.
I bit into the sandwich I was holding, tasting the soft bread, the texture of fresh lettuce, and the faint saltiness of crisp bacon. Shortly after, came the sharp flavor of spicy mustard.
As we made the usual ordinary conversation, little by little the lunch box emptied.
By the time we had finished eating the apples I had bought, my stomach was completely full.
I poured some black tea from the canteen, and handed the cup to Fate-chan.
When she had finished, I filled the emptied cup with tea again, drank, and the fragrant warmth spread airily through my mouth.
Right as the cup became empty, I heard a soft voice. A bit worriedly, she extended her hand towards me. When I took that hand, she gently pulled me towards her.
Thump, thump, the slow beats that I could hear. The gentle warmth touching my skin that was warmer than even the sun, and the sweet scent I loved.
The hand that stroked my hair felt good, and my eyelids softly closed.
“... Mm~, ... You're warm~”
I began to rub my cheek against her hand indulgently, when it suddenly froze.
“... Nanoha's warm too you know?”
After a few moments, her hand resumed its movements.
While her words, her warmth. Were more gentle than anything.
If I looked up, I would see an uncomfortable expression on Fate-chan's face. I was sure.
I glanced upwards, just enough so that she wouldn't notice, and there was Fate-chan making the exact expression I expected.
Eyes that were frantically concealing a burning flame.
Her palms were tightly clenched, while her arms were wrapped only lightly around me.
Though they should have been peaceful, the exhalations that touched my ear were hot.
As though drawn out by them, a heat that was quiet, but seemed to burn somewhere deep inside me, passed through my body.
“... Fate-chan... I,”
“—, It's getting late! Let's go, Nanoha.”
Fate-chan interrupted my words and stood up.
It was as if, she were trying to escape from hearing what I was about to say.
... Reflected in that deep red, was fear.
They clearly revealed that on that night, Fate-chan's heart had been wounded even more than I had thought.
“Hm? Oh. You two are back already~. Everything alright?”
As if nothing had happened, Fate-chan seemed back to normal.
Asking me, “Shall we go?” she had taken my hand, and led me back to the cathedral's front entrance.
As the splendid door came into sight, Hayate-chan greeted us with a smile.
The sleeves of the jacket she had on were rolled up to the elbows, and she was holding a folder to her chest. She waved it energetically, urging us over. The papers attached to it were tugged at by the unnaturally-made breeze, and flapped as if they were trying to escape.
Inside the binder-type thing must have been blueprints of the place. Along with detailed notes, I could make out figures of various shapes.
Seeing her like this, Fate-chan smiled wryly as she replied.
“Yes, fine. Thank you for letting me know that Nanoha had come, Hayate.”
“Not at all, it was no problem. Especially since it was for the cute Nanoha-chan~”
Hayate-chan laughed as she waved her hand. At her words Fate-chan frowned a little, but didn't say anything.
Seeing that, Hayate-chan tilted her head to the side wonderingly.
And then. “Haah,” she breathed a sigh.
“Your old patterns are showing up again, you two.”
“... Eh? Oof-”
Swish. Fate-chan's jacket, which she had left hanging at the edge of the rubble, flew through the air.
Fate-chan, who caught the stiff cloth with her face, pulled it away in a fluster so she could breath.
And, looking on as usual was Hayate-chan.
“You can go home for today, Fate-chan. Escort Nanoha-chan home pro~perly, okay?”
“But there's still work left...! Wah-”
Another object flew through the air, interrupting her. It was a wet towel. ... And one that hadn't been wrung out too well either.
Drops of water danced in the air, following its arc. They left small spots of color on the ground.
Fate-chan caught it just before it would have hit me, and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Nanoha, are you alright? Are your clothes..., bwa-”
The moment she lowered her raised hand, as if it had been waiting for the chance, a second volley made a splat as it landed on her face.
Hayate-chan... Your lifestyle is pointlessly controlling....
“That's an order. Also, you should cool your head a bit.”
“We're from different units, but don't sweat the details.” Saying this, Hayate-chan chuckled.
I followed after Fate-chan who had, after removing the wet towel from her face, reluctantly turned to head home.
I took a hand-towel from my bag, intending to wipe off her face which was still a little wet.
When I reached out my hand, I heard Hayate-chan's voice from behind us.
“Don't think about it so much. No guts, no glory!”
I suppose the people around us must not have caught what she meant. At Hayate-chan words, they tilted their heads to the side wonderingly.
For me though, it struck home hard, and all the heat in my body seemed to immediately gather in my face.
... She noticed!
She definitely noticed...!
I reflexively tightened my grip on Fate-chan's hand.
Then, Fate-chan returned my grip with just as much strength. No, even more.
“For today... I'll accept your kindness... Let's go home, Nanoha.”
Her hand was, just a little hot.
Still feeling slightly awkward, we walked home together.
The sun hadn't yet started to fall, so inside it was bright, and the sky was, as ever, a piercing deep blue.
A pleasant breeze came in through the widely-opened window, and softly brushed against my skin.
“... I haven't been home this early in a while.”
Fate-chan hung her jacket on a hanger, and smiled wryly as she opened the door to the closet.
She took out a clean set of clothes, and then, going to change into her usual casual housecoat, brought her hands to her undershirt.
As it bunched up, I caught a glimpse of white skin, and felt embarrassed for some reason.
“I, ... I'm! Going, to make some coffee-”
I babbled as I left the room, and stepped down the staircase.
I thought I might have heard Fate-chan say something from behind me. But, blocked by the closed door, I couldn't really hear.
No, she probably did say something. But, as I was at that moment, I wasn't about to check.
My heart was throbbing furiously.
My chest hurt, and I felt like I couldn't breath right. Struggling against it, I pressed my hand to my chest, then opened my mouth to take a deep breath.
I repeated this several times, until I felt like I had regained my usual rhythm.
Walking unhurriedly, I headed to the kitchen.
On the way there I didn't see any sign of Vita-chan, who had been around this morning. Come to think of it, her shoes were gone as well, so maybe she had gone out somewhere.
I put the contents of the bag, which I had set on the table as we arrived, into the refrigerator. With that done, I took a jar of instant coffee down from a shelf.
Really, the kind you made from actual ground beans tasted better. But since I had left the room like that, I didn't want to keep Fate-chan waiting too long.
... So, forgive me for it this time.
I opened the jar, and the mellow fragrance tickled my nose.
I scooped out a few spoonfuls, filling them into the matching cups we had bought.
After preparing some sugar and milk, I filled a kettle with water and set it on the stove.
I turned the switch, and for just a moment I could smell gas. Poh, there was a faint sound, and a small flame appeared.
I gazed at the swaying and flickering, red and blue flame.
I remembered a similar flame, flickering and filling Fate-chan's eyes that night.
It was completely gentle; everything about her.
Please. I don't want her to be hurt any more.
I won't allow it, even if it's me that's hurting her.
— It was then.
Suddenly. The cause of what I felt all along, the hazy feelings... I felt like I understood them a little.
“... I see, I... was,”
The high-pitched whistle of water boiling brought me back to consciousness.
How much time had passed?
Looking at the clock, about thirty minutes had passed since I left the room. Flustered, I filled the cups with hot water.
I put just milk in one of them, adding sugar to the other as well, then carried them up to our room.
Beyond the open door, dyed by the setting sun, was her silent back.
Fate-chan sat at the edge of the bed, staring up blankly at the darkening sky.
She must have finished her shower already. Her long hair was a little wet, and drops trickled down from her bangs where she hadn't wiped them enough.
I set the two steaming cups on the sideboard.
I was a little bewildered, but took the towel covering her head into my hands.
I wiped her hair with it using both hands, and after making sure that most of the dampness was gone, I picked up the hair dryer from where it had been left on the dresser.
I flicked the switch, and checked whether or not it was hot enough. As I used a comb to sort through her hair, I started to aim the hot air at it.
In a softer voice than usual, she called my name.
“Are you... afraid of being touched by me?”
Between the breaks in the sound of hot air given off by the dryer, I heard her apologetic voice.
At that hoarse voice, my chest ached unbearably.
“... No, that's not it.”
I checked whether her hair was completely dry, and continued to carefully comb it.
The golden threads, reflecting the light of the sun that was dyed madder red, sparkled especially brightly. I couldn't help but squint.
It had an airy fragrance, the gentle scent of shampoo.
Why is it that I use the same kind, but this scent only makes my heart race when it's with Fate-chan?
I put my arms around Fate-chan's shoulders and embraced her. A soft exhalation tickled my hands.
Softly. I tightened my embrace, and Fate-chan's breath caught as if surprised.
“Um... Just listen?”
After a short silence I heard her affirmative reply. She touched my arms as they embraced her. Softly, she caressed me with her fingertips.
I leaned against Fate-chan's back, and the bed's springs creaked.
Along with that, I felt the mattress sink.
“I also, want to touch Fate-chan. I feel like... I want to... but...”
If I voice all of my feelings.
Will Fate-chan pull away from my hand again?
— About that day...
No. Even this time, it's something we can't go back to.
I knew. That Fate-chan wouldn't do that.
Nevertheless, I was hopelessly afraid.
But wanting with all my heart to stop hurting Fate-chan, I held my heart down and spoke.
I gazed only at Fate-chan, uncertain but unwaveringly, and she softly pressed her fingertip to my lips.
“... Nanoha. That's enough.”
She twisted her body, turning to face me.
The expression I saw, made it look like she was about to cry.
“I do want to touch you. But... I never, even a little, want you to do something you don't want to.”
Her soothing voice was completely suffused with deep love.
I felt the anxiety that had built up in the depths of my chest, little by little melt away.
“Until you're ready, I'll wait as long as you want. ... So, don't force yourself. Nanoha.”
“Because, I'm very happy with just your feelings, okay?” she said.
“Thank you. Nanoha.”
Saying this, she embraced me and stroked my head. Hearing those words... I was sure. I knew then that she intended to wait for a long, long time.
Why didn't I remember right away?
— Because Fate-chan was always kind. Making a face that didn't show even the slightest of her own wishes, holding it all in, hiding behind a smile.
It had been that way since we met.
If I closed my eyes, that day would immediately come to mind.
Her gentle eyes, unchanging even after many years.
Her pretty, long golden threads that reflected the light.
Her slightly low, steady voice.
I loved it all. I had wished for us to always be together.
During those days when I had reached out my hand, knowing it would only be hurt.
Now, if I opened my eyes, what I would see would be, — this.
Attractive, cute, pretty. But still kind of a ditz... The same Fate-chan she always was.
This is what I had always wished for.
... But. Somewhere in the depths of my heart I had understood. I...
Why was I so afraid of what I wanted?
I had thought that the main reason was that it was something unfamiliar to me. Indeed, that might have been part of it too.
But, if it was with Fate-chan, it wouldn't be scary at all. Rather, I should have been happy.
— It was because. I had always been anxious about answering Fate-chan's feelings.
... Although it was no longer official, if you went back to the beginning, I had always been the “princess” of this kingdom.
And more than that, compared to regular people, I was... different.
It was only the workings of an unstable Linker Core that had allowed me to live this long. It could suddenly absorb and discharge the unique, enormous magical power that circled through my body.
There was almost nothing written about those who had been the “key” in the past. I had no idea how much I could be with others, how long this body would continue to function normally.
Would there come a day when, against my hopes, all of this would hurt Fate-chan again?
Because I was the “Fruit” that came from the “Original Sin.”
When I was young I used to think that I shouldn't be alive. That I shouldn't have been born into this world.
“... So, I was scared.”
Because I came to know this happiness by your side.
Because I came to know the despair of leaving you behind.
I would just imagine, “What if,” and my body would feel like it was being crushed by an unbearable fear.
Surely, I didn't need to worry about that anymore.
I knew that.
But the instant I felt happiness, I became anxious.
I would think, “Is it really okay for me to wish for a happiness greater than this?”
“Do I need to worry... that Fate-chan, and everything around me will be hurt if I seek any more?”
As gentle eyes watched over me, I voiced all the emotions that had lain hidden in the depths of my heart until now.
Fate-chan's eyebrows lowered a little, and she pursed her lips so tightly they turned white.
“... Then, haven't you... forgotten my determination entirely?”
A slightly strong tone.
The expression I looked up at, held irritation and a little anger. I reflexively turned my eyes away, but a finger lifted up my chin, guiding my gaze straight ahead.
Gishi. The springs creaked loudly.
A soft sensation occupied my lips. As I felt my body sink back, Fate-chan's golden threads danced lightly in the air.
The next instant, my vision was filled by the ceiling, dyed a madder red.
I was kissed.
As I comprehended this, my lips were occupied again as they were nipped at from a different angle. Without enough air, I began to feel dizzy.
Perhaps Fate-chan felt the same, since her red eyes would occasionally narrow painfully. With her right hand which was supporting her body weight, she gripped the sheets tightly.
Ahh, she's doing that so I won't have to bear a burden. I understood that.
It almost made me want to cry.
“... You still don't understand... how much I want to be next to you, do you?”
“... Haven't I said, that I love Fate-chan too?”
Fate-chan puffed out her cheeks, “Mm.” After that, “See. You really don't understand.” She continued quietly.
“Whatever happens. As long as you want me, I won't let you go. I've held onto this resolve... for a long time.”
Gishi. The mattress sunk again. Fate-chan's body weight, pressed down on it little by little.
“If I am with you. However terribly I am hurt, I will protect only you until the very end, and smile gladly.”
How can she smile with such a gentle face? If she gives me that look— that's it.
“... But for all that. ... I didn't notice at all that you were feeling anxious.”
With just the word, “anxious,” I was able to think of it as a trivial thing.
With just her feelings, everything simply dissolved.
“... I'm so sorry, Nanoha.”
So much so that I could never deceive her. Hopelessly.
I couldn't help but love her from the bottom of my heart.
Differently from before, this time her lips approached slowly.
Fate-chan's heat was transmitted across her thin skin, and I trembled, as a sweet numbness traveled from my waist to my back.
I had exchanged countless kisses with Fate-chan, but it was somehow different today, and felt ticklish.
“... m, Mm,”
“Mm, ... ah”
Like slowly melting away a great block of ice with a tranquil heat.
They were that kind of light, gentle kisses, given with care.
I thinly opened my closed eyes, and deep red met my gaze. Usually I would become embarrassed and close them right away, but now I was calm, and could gaze at her eyes.
Long eyelashes quivered.
Between kisses, she whispered demurely. Like some kind of mass of heat was blocking my throat, I couldn't say a word.
I nodded, and Fate-chan smiled happily.
She covered my cheek with her soft palm, and rained kisses on me. Pressing lips, slowly glided over my skin.
My eyelids, the bridge of my nose, my cheeks, my chin, were all touched.
Each time she pulled away, chu, a subdued sound was made. She softly pecked my earlobe, and in an instant all the heat in my body gathered there.
Apparently enjoying the sensation, with the tip of her tongue she traced over it a few times, exploring its shape. With her lips, she pecked it.
It was the first time I had been touched in such a place, and it almost made me cry out.
Quickly, I bit my lip, and noticing this, Fate-chan's finger touched my tightly closed lips.
“... Nanoha, are you scared?”
With the side of her thumb, she traced over my bottom lip, and my upper lip. Perhaps trying to calm me, she gave a single kiss that was just a touch.
I shook my head to show it was alright, and Fate-chan's face relaxed. Then, with slightly trembling fingertips she reached for one of the buttons of my blouse.
When she looked up at me I nodded in response, and as though relieved, Fate-chan took a quiet, shallow breath.
The buttons she touched, one by one, became unfastened.
She moved very slowly.
It was as if, she were trying to burn everything she was seeing now into her memory.
My blouse hung open, and my hand was softly pulled out of the shirt's cuff.
Feeling that temperature that was colder than my own, I jumped a little.
Fate-chan's hand, is cold....
That hand that touched me, moved as if it were handling a fragile piece of glasswork, with terrible delicacy. And, it trembled a bit as well.
Soft lips followed behind my sleeve as it was rolled up. Though the air that touched my skin should have felt a little cool considering the season, that wasn't the case at all.
Each time Fate-chan's palms and fingertips, and her lips touched me, my skin would blaze with heat, and each time they separated they would leave behind a tiny pain inside my chest.
Those fingertips, finally reached my breasts.
In an instant, Fate-chan's face contorted.
She slowly traced over that spot.
It was certainly a different texture than the rest of my skin.
With a face that looked as if she might cry, she gazed at it for a long time.
At the scar, from the day that I had been pierced by a blade.
At the evidence, that my life had been lost, and then saved.
External magical energy waves were never very effective on my body. Furthermore, due to the wounds' proximity to my heart (my Linker Core), even Shamal-san's healing magic couldn't make them vanish in the end, and even now pronounced scars remained on my skin.
But, even though I say “scars,” they weren't all that big. All that remained were two fine lacerations where the blade had pierced through my breast and back.
I recalled Shamal-san's sorrowful expression as she told me that those scars would probably remain for the rest of my life.
“... Fate, chan.”
Fate-chan said nothing in response; all she did was run the tip of her tongue over that spot, and rain kisses on it.
Again, and again.
It was like, she wanted to heal that scar. And if that was impossible, to suck it away completely.
Each time her lips pulled away, tears spilled onto my skin, wetting the scar.
I extended my hand straight out, and touched Fate-chan's shrouded cheek. That expression, which was like that of a little puppy, trembled in surprise.
Though it hadn't been Fate-chan's fault at all.
If I said that, she probably wouldn't agree.
I wouldn't bathe with her up until now, because I didn't want to show her this scar. Not because it bothered me.
I was sure she would say,
“... It's my fault... So, I,”
As she went to speak the words exactly as I guessed, I blocked them with my lips and swallowed them.
“... Do you hate me with a scar? I'm not pretty, so... you don't want to touch me anymore?”
At those words, Fate-chan's breath caught as if shocked.
After a few moments, as though she were suddenly aware, she shook her head forcefully.
“... As long as Nanoha is Nanoha, there is nothing else I wish for.”
“... Then, will you just look at me as I am now?”
A little relaxed, I sat up, and began to take off the rest of my clothes.
I wanted Fate-chan to know everything.
I took off my skirt as well and dropped it to the floor.
Now that I was in nothing but my underwear, even though it was inevitable, I still felt terribly embarrassed.
Perhaps noticing, Fate-chan immediately brought her hands to the buttons of the shirt she was wearing.
Smooth, white skin, slowly became visible.
The black underwear that covered her fairly tense body was mature, and really suited Fate-chan's nice figure.
As I looked at her abundant swells, I was tempted to wonder why there was this much difference when we were both the same age.
Her shirt rustled as it fell onto the bed, followed by a slender pair of pants.
“Um... Sorry, I'm not too pretty.”
She hid her eyes in embarrassment.
Drawing my attention, was beautiful white skin, and. More cuts from sword-wounds than I could count.
On her side, a scar like mine, or rather, larger than mine remained.
“... No, you're wrong. You're very pretty.”
Gently, I touched that skin. It was soft, and warm.
I touched the scar with my fingertip. I gently traced over it, and she jumped a little in surprise.
Not pale from blood loss like I had seen on that snowy day, it was fair, pretty skin. Seeing it reassured me.
At that time, I had been truly afraid. My vision had gone blank, and I was covered in a despair that made it seem my body was burning.
... I had thought, that Fate-chan was gone.
As I caressed the scar, soft, slender arms wrapped around me.
“That tickles, Nanoha.”
She smiled teasingly. As I was embraced, my body softly sunk into the sea of sheets.
Our lips met.
As we kissed, our lips still appealing to each other, with tip of her tongue, she lightly traced over my lips, urging them open. Responding, I slowly opened my lips, and her wet, hot tongue entered my mouth.
When she traced over my upper jaw I reflexively opened wider, and mine which had shrunken back within, entangled with hers as if being engulfed.
“... mmu... ahmu...”
“Nnn... Fa... Ah-”
The palm caressing my shoulder, slowly, slid downward. When it passed my bicep, and began caressing the inside of my arm, another sweet numbness ran through me.
Our fingers entwined tightly, and I could feel, thump, thump, her slow pulse through them.
With her other hand she touched my breast through my bra, and I let out a small cry.
Like she was consciously trying not to scare me, the way Fate-chan touched me was very subtle.
Yet, it was enough to sweetly melt my reason away.
When my bra was removed, Fate-chan took her own off in the same way, and dropped them onto the bed.
“... Maybe this way you won't feel as embarrassed?”
My sight was stolen.
Even through her clothes I could tell, and, um, I more or less knew from when we hug, but....
Fate-chan's breasts are really big... I'm kind of jealous.
When I tried touching her with my palms, they were soft, and warm.
Impressed, I moved my hands along the curves to inspect them further, and Fate-chan's cheeks filled with scarlet.
“Na, Nanoha?” Fate-chan continued speaking, flusteredly.
“Um, ... If you look that closely, it really is embarrassing.”
Fate-chan hid her eyes as she said this.
She looked adorable like that. My shoulders shook as I laughed, and trying to draw attention from her flushed cheeks, she covered the swells of my breasts with her palms.
“-! ... Nn...”
The moment she touched me, I felt something like a tiny electric current. I twisted my body. This time I started to blush.
Fate-chan looked like she was surprised, and exclaimed in a low voice.
Then, she softly moved her fingers.
They held so little force I almost couldn't feel them, and were more ticklish than pleasurable.
But, I was embarrassed by the way my body shuddered each time Fate-chan touched me, and really didn't want her to see.
I tightly gripped the sheets.
With the slight movement of my body, Fate-chan's fingertip happened to touch the tip of one of my breasts.
At the strong electric sensation, I cried out in a voice that didn't sound like my own.
At that voice, Fate-chan pulled her fingers away in surprise. After a few moments, while monitoring my response, she touched the tip a second time.
She tried pressing on it lightly with her finger, then pinching it between her index finger and thumb, and I felt light waves of stimulation.
Each time there was some kind of tingling inside my stomach, and I was stricken by a sensation that made me want to pull away.
“This much... doesn't hurt?”
Hearing the discrete question, I replied, “It's alright.” Her lips approached and pecked there, and I cried out more loudly.
Embarrassed, I pressed the back of my hand against my mouth and bit down on my lip to keep my voice from escaping.
She nervously traced over it with the tip of her tongue, and I felt a wet sensation, different from her fingers.
The abundance of heat that boiled up from within my body, seemed to steal all my thoughts away.
“... Mm, aa... faa...-”
I wanted to take a breath, but when I opened my mouth only a sweet moan emerged. I looked down desperately, and saw a blushing Fate-chan dropping kisses on my breast.
I let out a laugh, thinking that she looked kind of cute, a little like a baby. I stroked her head. Our eyes suddenly met.
Her eyes widened in astonishment, then after a moment her face relaxed in happiness, and her eyes narrowed again.
Seeing that expression, I felt like I could catch my breath a little.
I touched soft gold threads, and
“... Mm, Aah... hia-”
She bit lightly, then with the end of her tongue she softly rubbed against the tip. I jumped reflexively.
Either she was becoming accustomed to it, or just getting bolder. These weren't the hesitant motions of before; they had changed decidedly into ones that drew out the heat within me.
Suddenly, I felt that heat bubble up from deep inside me.
“Eh... wh..., wh-at...?”
I was bewildered by this new feeling. Not knowing what to do, and trying to bear it somehow, I pressed my hips against the bed.
Rather than stopping, I instead felt it increase further. Thinking I might stain my panties, I fell into a small panic.
If I let Fate-chan know, she might hate me.
So, I didn't know what to do.
“Fa, te... cha...”
A slight wet sound. If I moved too much she'd notice.
The lips that had pecked the tip, now touched my abdomen.
She continued this way, slowly dropping kisses around my belly button.
When she touched my leg with her palm, I cried out in refusal.
At that voice, Fate-chan pulled away from me as though she had been struck.
“... You didn't like it? I'm sorry, Nanoha. I'm sorry.”
She lowered her eyebrows and peered at my face. I didn't know what I should do, and hung my head as well.
“Just now, I... felt strange, so”
I clenched my hips and hunched down to try to hide that place, and in turn the sheets stretched taut, leaving deep wrinkles in them.
As I tightened my grip on the sheets, my hand was covered by Fate-chan's slightly cool palm.
“It's... something you don't want me to know?”
Shifting her body and placing her hands on one of my still-rigid feet, onto the top of it, chu, Fate-chan placed a kiss.
The feeling of warm lips. Chu, chuu, she brought them there many times, softly caressing until she reached my knee.
“Umm, well? ... Please don't hate me...”
At such words, Fate-chan smiled calmly.
“That couldn't happen. ... Didn't I say before, too?”
Those chastising words encouraged me, and I relaxed my thighs a little.
With her palm she gently caressed back and forth between my knee and my thigh, and I cried out in a slightly high voice.
Each time I cried out, I could feel myself tremble there. It seemed indecent, and more and more heat gathered in my face.
“... Nanoha. Umm, may... I?”
She spoke those words. I lifted up a little, and she began to timidly pull my panties off.
The strand I saw stretched between the cloth and that place was embarrassing; I wanted to cry.
I closed my eyes tightly, and tears ran down my cheeks before falling.
“... No... I...”
“Don't cry, Nanoha. It's nothing bad, right?”
Fate-chan's voice was gentle.
She touched me softly, and there was a slight, wet sound. With just that, I could tell the state of things down there.
“It's because you felt me. I'm very happy.”
Again, her fingers slowly moved. The room began to fill with sounds of wetness.
Spilled drops ran down onto entwined fingers, and I was seized by a numbness accompanied by the strongest feeling of pleasure yet.
As Fate-chan watched me with an expression of concern, she tentatively pressed her fingers forward lightly.
“... Fua! Nn, Aaahh!”
Reflexively, my body jumped in surprise.
As I pulled my hips away, she put an arm around me and drew me in tightly. The exhalations that tickled my stomach were just as hot as my own.
With the ball of her finger she tickled the tip, pressing it softly. As she repeated this again and again, even I could feel it gradually become hard through the movements of her fingers.
Proportional to this, the feeling of pleasure changed into something much stronger.
My hips trembled, and my body felt simply hot, like it was on fire.
“Hy... ah, what is, this...? Mm, fua, Ahh!”
“... Does this feel good? Nanoha.”
She pinched softly, touching massagingly.
I couldn't hold back my voice any longer.
Too anxious just gripping the sheets, I wrapped my arms around Fate-chan and embraced her.
I nodded wordlessly, and she rubbed there more strongly.
There was a white flashing inside my head. Even catching my breath was difficult.
At the edge of my completely melted thoughts, I suddenly felt the warmth of Fate-chan's body separate from me. I became anxious, and the moment I opened my eyes, I felt something soft touch me, different than her fingers.
Wet, with motions so subtle they couldn't be compared to before, it provided an enveloping stimulation.
I hurriedly looked down, and saw Fate-chan placing her tongue between my legs, which had spread apart at some point.
“... No! Fa, te-chan, that's dirty... Nnaa!”
She rubbed, and sucked somewhat forcefully.
Thicker, overflowing heat.
“... There isn't a dirty spot on you, Nanoha.”
I couldn't stop my tears of embarrassment. But it felt so good; my thoughts were in chaos.
I wanted her to stop, but even when I went to pull her head away, my feeble hands only entangled in her beautiful hair.
“... Tell me if you don't like it? I'll stop right away.”
I heard her worried voice. No longer able to even nod, I clutched Fate-chan's head desperately.
When I did, the movements of her tongue became stronger than before, and the wet sounds increased.
An even stronger numbness spread through my hips.
“Nn.... hy, ah... feels, good... no..., I'm scared, Fate-chan...!”
I felt like I was being swallowed by an unknown sensation.
My upper body was somehow roused by the fear, and I clung tightly to her hot body.
Fate-chan returned the embrace firmly, trying to soothe me.
“... It's okay. I'm right here. It's alright. ... I'll make you feel really good, okay?”
Her tongue plunged in strongly.
At that instant.
“Hya, ....-, ———!”
The world exploded into white.
“... uh, fa, u... hn, hn,”
To loose me from the waves of pleasure that still covered my body, Fate-chan slowly stroked my shoulders. I breathed in and out in time with this, and the strong waves gradually changed into calm ones.
But, the still-burning heat was unquenchable.
In an anxious voice, she called my name.
Her face was flushed, and her eyes trembled.
Accompanying them, her cool fingertips were quivering slightly.
“... Can I?”
Having come this far, she didn't need to ask.
Because my first, could be no one but Fate-chan.
“If it wasn't you, ... I couldn't stand it.”
At those words, her fingertips timidly penetrated.
Despite being thin they felt very large, and I was assailed by a strong feeling of pressure.
A sharp pain like I was being wrenched open made me tense up, and gradually tears welled up again.
“... Nanoha. Nanoha.”
As she called my name worriedly, Fate-chan kissed my face many times.
With her other hand she held my body firmly, and feeling her warmth reassured me.
“I'm, alright... so. So, do it?”
My breath was choked.
But to calm myself as much as I could, I spoke slowly.
Gazing into my eyes, Fate-chan slowly pushed her inserted fingers inward.
“I love you, Nanoha. ... So much.”
“... Fu, Aahh, nn...-!!”
Chu, she kissed my cheek, and my strength suddenly left me. That moment, in a single movement Fate-chan's fingers penetrated deeply.
At the strong, dull pain I felt within my abdomen, I clung instinctively to Fate-chan.
“... Hah, ... Hah”
I need to relax, I thought, but I couldn't. I felt my fingernails bite into her back as I clung to it.
It must have hurt. Thinking that, I tried to let go, but perhaps because of the pain, I couldn't easily move my fingers and wasn't able to release them.
“... Don't worry, Nanoha. I'm fine. I'm fine with it, so”
As she spoke, she instead peered at my face worriedly.
There was still a sense of discomfort in my abdomen.
Each time I took a shallow breath, I could feel the fingers that were inserted to their base. Just a little touch, there, and I would tense up.
“Nanoha, does it hurt? Are you alright?”
“I'm, al, right. ... Are you, okay?”
But Fate-chan just tried to calm me, gently caressing my head.
After a while had passed, and she had confirmed that the pain had withdrawn, she gently pulled her fingers back and inserted them again, repeating this.
At first it was accompanied by a dull pain, but helped by the flowing drops, that too gradually disappeared.
Now, it was only a sweet, pleasurable feeling.
“Nn, ah... fua...!”
Each time Fate-chan's fingers moved erratically, a tingling numbness pierced through my brain.
My shyness that had been so strong had disappeared, and now I just wanted Fate-chan's warmth.
“Nn..., Aah, yaa, ... Ah, ah-”
My body trembled in time with her fingers' movements, and lewd, wet noises filled the room.
I felt like I would be swallowed again by that powerful heat, and I tightened my arms around Fate-chan.
“Fa, te-cha..., Fate-chan!”
I called her name, and in reply she kissed me.
Our tongues entwined, and even my exhalations were swallowed into Fate-chan's mouth.
“… Ah, don't... I … Mmm... Aa... Haaa!”
“That's good, ... Nanoha.”
The fingers that moved, and the fingers that touched the point that had become completely hard.
And, the utterly gentle deep red, and her hoarse voice more tinged with heat than usual.
With everything of Fate-chan that I felt, my thoughts melted.
“Nn, Aahh! ——!!”
Like that, I was engulfed by a great heat.
“... Mm, ...”
When I awoke, the room was covered in darkness.
It seemed that some time had passed.
I went to sit up, but the area around my hips felt languid. After a few moments, I gave up.
When I turned my head to the side a little, I could see the keen, shining, pure white moon floating in the pitch-black sky.
Tonight, there was a beautiful full moon.
“... You're awake? Nanoha.”
Immersed in the moment, she placed her palm on my forehead, and my eyes narrowed at its pleasant, cool temperature.
Suddenly, I felt the pillow I was resting my head on be replaced by the softness of her arm.
“Aren't I heavy?” I became worried and raised my head.
“It's fine,” Fate-chan laughed quietly, as she ran her hand through my hair.
When I relaxed and snuggled up to her chest, I could hear, thump, her slow heartbeat.
I embraced her tightly, and she embraced me back in the same way.
“... Does it still hurt?”
She softly stroked the area around my stomach, and I think my face must have reddened with so much force it was audible.
When I remembered I felt a bit embarrassed, and I just nodded, unable to look at Fate-chan's eyes.
“... Just a little, dull, I guess.”
I closed my eyes, and could sense Fate-chan's warmth, and her sweet scent. Somehow it was a little ticklish.
I took in a breath, and happiness slowly filled me.
We were nestled so close there wasn't a crack between us.
The one next to Fate-chan, was surely “Nanoha.”
“I love you, Fate-chan.”
The words flowed out smoothly.
Were my true, undecorated feelings able to directly reach Fate-chan's heart?
After a short silence, Fate-chan embraced me tightly.
So much, that it hurt a little.
As I felt her warmth, I shut my eyes again.
“... Yeah? Fate-chan.”
When I opened my eyes, spread before them was deep red.
“I'm very grateful to your father and mother.”
“Yeah, it's thanks to their support that we can live together like this, huh?”
As her hand went on stroking my head, “Not just that,” she continued speaking.
The expression illuminated by the moonlight was so calm, I couldn't connect it to the one who had performed those acts earlier.
“They permitted me to continue serving as Princess Nanoha's, as Nanoha's knight.”
At the earnest emotions reflected in her narrowed eyes, my chest grew hot.
“And most of all, I'm grateful to them for giving birth to you, and raising you. I'm truly, so grateful.”
— Tears began to well up.
“... uh, fu... hku”
I tried to stop them, but couldn't.
Fate-chan said nothing to me as I wept, and just kept stroking my head.
“I'm so glad I met you.”
Between ragged tears that wouldn't stop, “Me too,” I nodded many times. The words I spoke with a hoarse throat were muted, so Fate-chan might not have been able to catch them.
But she understood my feelings. “Mm,” her cheeks relaxed happily.
“Nanoha. ... Thank you so much, for being born.”
Fate-chan's cheeks were also wet with tears.
But I'm sure mine were worse.
... But that was fine.
Because, these were tears of joy.
“... Even if we were reborn, and looked different. I would definitely come to you again.”
I took one of the hands wrapped around me, and softly placed my lips on its palm.
“... I swear it.”
From the outside, I'm sure people would think it was just pillow talk.
To us, was a firm oath, a vow to pierce a hazy eternity.
“I love you, Nanoha. More than anyone, more than anything.”
“Mm... Me too.”
Faint light entered through the open window, illuminating the bed we lay on.
It would probably be dawn soon. Far away, a sky bright enough to dazzle the eye extended.
“It'll be morning soon.”
When I turned my body to nestle up against Fate-chan's chest, I heard her quiet voice.
The room had started to brighten a little.
Looking at the clock hung on the wall, it was only a few hours until dawn.
“Yeah. It'll be a beautiful day today too.”
Because. There wasn't a single cloud, and the sky was this pretty.
“When we get up, what would you like to do?”
“First we'll greet each other. 'Good morning.'”
I pictured the obvious, but joyous scene.
We'd bump our foreheads together and giggle.
“Yeah. Sounds good. Then, why don't we eat breakfast together after we wash our faces? I'll make it today.”
“Really? A meal made by Fate-chan, I bet it'll be delicious~”
Fate-chan's cooking was really good. I wondered what she would make today. I was already looking forward to it.
But, I wouldn't lose either. I planned to at least pretend I was helping, and make a few things.
Because, I loved seeing Fate-chan's face when she'd smile and say, “It's good.”
And if that wasn't possible, I'd at least make the after-meal coffee.
My one special skilled I'd learned since moving here.
This time, I'd make it properly, and grind the beans myself.
“Yeah. And then... Since I have the day off, why don't we pack a lunch and go on a picnic?”
She stroked my shoulders tenderly, and I nodded back.
I was still feeling kind of lethargic, but I was sure it wouldn't last long.
It's been a while since I've leisurely gone out with Fate-chan.
What should I wear?
Since I have the chance, I'd like to wear the cutsew top Fate-chan bought me.
“Then, why don't we go buy some fresh bread from that baker? After so long, I'd like to have some again.”
“Yeah. Ah! In that case, how about bringing a few things to make sandwiches?”
I continued speaking as I recalled what was in the refrigerator. There should still be something other than what was used for yesterday's lunch.
Ham, lettuce, tomatoes. And eggs.
Fate-chan liked egg sandwiches, so I'd make plenty.
If there were any left over, she could take them for everyone at work.
“Yeah, sounds like fun.”
“Doesn't it? Oh, yeah, why don't we go to that grove of rare fruit that you mentioned before?”
At my words Fate-chan closed her eyes to think a little, and after a few moments her face relaxed.
“Hm? We haven't gone yet?”
“Uu~. No, we haven't.”
At her words that contained a mix of humor, I also made a show of puffing out my cheeks.
Fate-chan's face, as she poked my cheeks while apologizing, “Sorry, sorry,” was not the gallant one of a commanding officer, but one entirely appropriate for a girl her age.
Smiling, truly happily.
I smiled back.
“Hey, Nanoha. Right now, I'm... so happy.”
She covered my palm with her hand, and entwined our fingers.
“... Being able to casually touch like this. Being able to tell you I love you. Before, I couldn't even imagine such happiness.”
“... Mm, me too. Being able to be with Fate-chan— I'm truly happy.”
We hadn't been wrong, at all.
As Fate-chan held me in her arms, I slowly closed my eyes.
When we met, we were nine years old.
Probably, what captured me at first, was deep, pretty red. And, a gentle smile.
The hand held out to me was incredibly warm. The voice that called my name was incredibly kind.
The first person to become friends with Nanoha, who didn't know Princess Nanoha.
The first person Nanoha fell in love with.
But I knew. I couldn't reach out this hand.
I was a princess, and the “key.” A bird in a cage that couldn't go anywhere.
But, I loved her— truly, loved her.
I wanted to be by Fate-chan's side. To smile with her.
I cried out, that things like being a knight and a princess. That things like social status didn't matter. I just stretched out my hand straight towards Fate-chan.
Even though we hurt one another. We sought to reconnect the bonds that had joined us.
And now, here we are.
There were many hardships.
Many, many times when we were hurt and wanted to run away.
But because we didn't run away, now we could take each other's hands, and smile together like this.
Because if we gave up and did nothing, nothing would have changed. I'm sure there is nothing that absolutely cannot be changed.
We looked foolish.
We struggled, and struggled.
We crawled along the ground, and cried.
But if we just looked up and saw the sky, it was enough.
No matter what lay before us.
As long as we held onto hope, as long as we walked straight ahead.
Surely, a path would open.
Everything I have now came from acquiring the belief that “the results are everything.”
The bonds connecting us,
Guide us to the future.
So, there was no need to feel anxious anymore.
I didn't have to waver anymore.
Now, another new day was beginning.
I will spend these joyous days smiling.
“Good morning, Fate-chan.”
“Good morning, Nanoha.”
Together with you, my beloved, until the day I die.
Glück ohne das Ende.
Read the first book: Das Resultat sagt alles